Game Chip Holder

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Project by Norris posted 01-12-2013 01:53 AM 1840 views 6 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this case to hold a set of custom poker chips for a game that my wife and I play. If any of you have played “Power Grid”, you’ll probably agree that working with the paper money included with the game can be a bit of a hassle.

I made the poker chips using cheap blanks and some mailing labels. The case itself is made from two lengths of 1X6 walnut with maple spacers. I bored the holes using a 40mm forstner bit. The whole assembly was then wrapped with some scrap walnut strips with the ends bored to show the chips inside. Sanded and finished with 3 coats of amber shellac.

The interior sanding is quite rough, but generally speaking I’m happy with how it turned out. I chose the dimensions of the case so that it would fit inside the game box. Instead, I think this looks just fine sitting on the shelf.

6 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30475 posts in 2901 days

#1 posted 01-12-2013 01:57 AM

Nice job on the case

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View gsimon's profile


1313 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 01-12-2013 02:05 AM

nice job – looks pro!

-- Greg Simon

View a1Jim's profile


117790 posts in 4140 days

#3 posted 01-12-2013 06:27 AM

Very cool chip holder.

View Boxguy's profile


2859 posts in 2830 days

#4 posted 01-12-2013 10:12 AM

Norris, I like this box. Is is purpose-driven and is nicely designed to do a specific job well. It is not clearly stated in your explanation, but you bored 5 holes 400 mm in diameter into a piece of walnut…4×6? You then used a band saw or tablesaw to cut the bored pieces in half and create the troughs. You didn’t state the overall size of the finished box, so it is hard to tell from just the pictures.

I have some questions: How did you extend the bit length or did you bore from two sides? Did you hand sand the troughs with a rounded block? Could you have mounted the sanding block on a lathe? Is this design really heavy? I think you made a good choice not 45ing the corners of the holders. But for the record, why did you do that? Did you print the mailing labels or buy them somewhere? You have spent quite a bit of time thinking this out and working out the details well. Are there other tips you would care to pass along?

I agree with you that this looks fine sitting on the shelf instead of hidden in a box. It is a nice job and good solution to a problem. You should be proud of how this turned out, it is beautiful. Thanks for sharing this with us I enjoyed seeing it. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View Norris's profile


8 posts in 3699 days

#5 posted 01-12-2013 03:06 PM

Thanks for all kind words everyone. This project was all about firsts and experimentation for me. Suffice to say that almost every aspect of this project was something I’d never tried before. In all honesty, this project’s main purpose was to keep my mind occupied before my daughter was born.

Boxguy, in resonse to your questions, the finished dimensions are 9 3/4”L X 5 1/4”W x 2”H. The case weighs about 2 lbs empty, and 6 or 7 lbs with the chips in it.

The case did actually start as two pieces of 1X6 about 9 1/4” long. I didn’t have access to any 4X6 material, or a bandsaw to cut it for that matter. Instead, I laminated strips of maple onto the plank across the width. For the center of the bores I used some sacrificial pieces of poplar to keep the bit centered. I matched the two halves together and fastended them using clamps and plenty of masking tape.

Cutting the bores was the most stressful part of the project. I don’t have a drill press, but thankfully, a friend of mine let me invade his shop for a few hours. We ended up starting the bores on his milling machine, which gave us a lot more control over the speed of the cut. Unfortunately, the plunge length on the machine meant we had to switch to his drill press with a bit extender to finish the bores. You can see the transition in the thrid picture.

All of the sanding was done by hand. I didn’t buy a rounded block, but wrapped some of the paper I had around a D-cell battery. I didn’t 45 the corners because I bored the holes before preparing the strips for wrapping. I was worried that the planks might start to bow or twist after I removed so much material, so I opted for the simple joint so I could reinforce the troughs more quickly.

As for the chips, the mailing labels were full page labels that I got at Office Max. I printed the images on my home printer and cut them out by hand. A lot of piddly details and handwork, but it kept my mind occupied.

View Boxguy's profile


2859 posts in 2830 days

#6 posted 01-12-2013 09:03 PM

Norris, thanks for taking time to answer my questions. The D battery idea was a nice surprise. I hope you and your daughter and her mother are doing well and have started your new adventure in life together. Your build was a nice job of problem solving all around. Thanks for sharing.

-- Big Al in IN

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